The results are in! Six Metro-area Jesuit high schools have just wrapped up a friendly, but spirited Thanksgiving food drive competition designed to raise awareness of hunger in our communities while filling local food banks and pantries with much-needed provisions. The undisputed winners of this Great Ignatian Challenge were the charities whose shelves were filled with more than 102,000 pounds of food – the equivalent of over 51 tons of provisions.
The participating Jesuit high schools included Fairfield Prep (Fairfield, CT); Fordham Preparatory School (The Bronx); Loyola School (Manhattan); Regis High School (Manhattan), Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ); and Xavier High School (Manhattan).
Regis students spearheaded an effort that contributed over 21,000 items (roughly 18,500 pounds of food) to the New York Common Pantry and the Jan Hus Urban Outreach Program.
When the Great Ignatian Challenge was announced in November, a donor – now revealed to be Jim Rowen P'12 – initially pledged up to $250,000 for tuition assistance to be divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student. Mr. Rowen increased the contribution to $300,000 after witnessing the generosity from the six schools. A parent of a 2012 Regis graduate and the former Board Chair at Fordham Preparatory, Mr. Rowen said he was inspired by the existing Thanksgiving food drives at each school.
Mr. Rowen’s generous gift will be divided as follows:
The Loyola School: $125,000
Regis High School: $59,000
Fordham Preparatory: $58,500
St. Peter’s Preparatory: $21,000
Fairfield Preparatory: $19,500
Xavier High School: $17,000
Mr. Rowen said, “When we are united by our Ignatian mission to help those less fortunate, that collaboration can achieve remarkable outcomes. Addressing hunger for thousands is just one example.”
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, added his congratulations saying, “What these school have accomplished is no surprise at all! St. Ignatius Loyola asked the Jesuits he founded to form Men for Others. That’s what these students are – men and women for others! A blessed Thanksgiving indeed!”
A key component of a Jesuit education is community service which allows students to gain first-hand knowledge of local, national, and global issues. Through service to the community, students participate in the world as competent, concerned, and responsible members who are committed to social justice.